29 May 2011

How to read

I decided to write about how to read and understand articles (and other mass media stuff). It will be connected with MJ (since this blog is about him), but he is only an example here.
This is an article by Maureen Orth from Vanity Fair magazine. It is very old, but at least it is not too long to put its analisys here.
I will quote parts in italics that I will make comments on.
I will skip almost all of the first paragraph, though why Lisa Marie is called "bride", she and MJ were already married for a year (cultural differences?..)

When the show ended, many with a detailed knowledge of the case were appalled by what ABC News had allowed Jackson to get away with

Who were those "many"?

and by Sawyer's lack of preparation or her inability to follow up within the format dictated by the Jackson forces

Lol at lack of preparation - lack of preparation for interviews is a normal state for most of journalists, even those who are paid huge sums of money for their blabbing in front of TV cameras.

Controversy raged for days over the way ABC had bent network news standards to accommodate Jackson's many demands

Did they really bent something or it was just lack of preparation - as always? Maureen needs to make her mind on the subject.

not to mention the outcry over the cruel revenge tone and anti-Semitic lyrics in his songs

I believe the mentioned songs is actually "Scream". (Being a foreigner and having very limited knowledge on american slang I will stay out of discussion about controversial lyrics of this song).

Sources close to the family of the boy allegedly molested have said that they are considering whether Jackson's specific references to the sexual allegations in the case were a breach of the contract reached in the enormous settlement he paid for his young accuser to drop the charges.

Who are those sources?

Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon, who has seen the photographs of Jackson's genitalia, was upset enough after watching Sawyer's interview to speak to me on the record. "Regarding the markings," Sneddon says, "his statement on TV is untrue and incorrect and not consistent with the evidence in the case."

Did these markings exist or didn they not exist, did Jordan's description match or did it not... Very hazily.

Others familiar with the evidence are more forthcoming. They say there are definite markings on Jackson's genital area, including a discoloration on his testicles.

Who are those others familiar with the evidence? Is it Sneddon himself who asked Maureen Orth not to disclose him as a source of information, was it someone who took part in the investigation and saw photos or was present during the strip search, was it someone familiar with the evidence (that is MJ's genitalia - lol!) or was it Maureen Orth herself who scratched her head and decided to write smth. that would look interesting?

(Jackson admitted in his live interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993 that he suffers from the skin disorder vitiligo, which causes discoloration.)

As my knowledge of English allows me to understand discoloration means lighter spot on a darker surface. And yes, vitiligo means appearance of white spots on skin - they are white or lighter than other parts of skin because they lack melanin - pigment that colours our skin.

According to the sworn affidavit of a law-enforcement photographer, there is a dark spot on the lower left side of Jackson's penis.

Um... I'm confused. Why dark spot?.. If it is discoloration - it must be light!
By the way is it possible to read those sworn affidavits? I would love to.

The boy who had accused Jackson of sexually molesting him, according to those familiar with the evidence, was able to draw—first for the district attorney, then for his own lawyers—an accurate picture of the dark spot on Jackson's penis. The boy's drawings were sealed in an envelope and clearly postmarked on a postal meter before the police ever photographed Jackson. According to these sources, the boy's drawings were an accurate match of the photographs.

I'm still interested who ar those familiar with the evidence. Was information about accurate match contained in those above mentioned affidavits? Did those who were present during the strip search knew how Jordan's drawing looked? Did Maureen Orth get this information directly from Tom Sneddon who I believe saw both the drawing and MJ's private parts?

The boy got "in excess of $25 million," according to sources close to the family, and his parents were also paid off in the millions.

Those sources close to the family were not very correct, Jordan got only little bit more than 15 million.

People close to the investigation say that Jackson's lawyers kept putting off any depositions, and agreed to settle the night before Jackson was to have been put under oath.

Once again: who are those people?

In answering a civil case in which five former bodyguards accused Jackson of firing them because "they knew too much," Jackson did invoke the Fifth Amendment on the subject of alleged child molestation. The suit, dismissed since the PrimeTime Live interview, was not mentioned by Sawyer.

There were plenty of people who used to sue MJ for different reasons - did Sawer had to mention everybody?.. (And I think it is believed to be more appropriate to kill those who "know too much", not to fire them).

Investigation sources say police found a lewd, commercially published hardcover book of black-and-white photos of nude boys aged about 7 to 12 "at play," and according to one, that book "is often found in the home of pedophiles."

Lewd?.. It depends on viewer's opinion. As far as I remember there were one or two books seized from Neverland which really contain pictures of undressed or scantily dressed kids. Perhaps police really often finds those books in the home of pedophiles, though those books are not pornographic.

Law-enforcement sources, however, confirm that there is another boy who has a lawyer and is currently negotiating a settlement with Jackson. Of the boys mentioned in the district attorneys' press release who accused Jackson of sexual misconduct and who are unwilling to testify, Sneddon says, "The status regarding these two is basically the same."

At one point Sawyer said, "None of the employees who claimed to have seen questionable things had a story that could be confirmed by a child." Again, Sawyer is contradicted by law-enforcement sources. Two years ago, Jackson's personal maid, Blanca Francia, told police, the Los Angeles Times, and the tabloid TV show Hard Copy that she had seen Jackson a number of times in the nude with young boys and found a picture of an apparently nude boy in Jackson's room. Under oath she also said she found Jackson in bed with several boys, and a young boy with him in the same sleeping bag. She discovered $300 in the boy's pocket (which he had admitted Jackson had given to him).

Actually those multiple boys was Blanca Francia's son.

The boy himself, according to sources close to the case, was considering going into the witness-protection program—such was his fear of the retribution he would suffer by publicly alleging that Michael Jackson was a pedophile.

Who are these sources close to the case?

The witness-protection-program idea fell through, however, when neither state nor federal authorities offered it

Hm, why?

While Jackson has gone on to marry and become the stepfather of Elvis Presley's grandchildren, Jackson's close involvement with the boy ultimately ripped the boy's floundering family apart. After the settlement, the second marriages of both his parents ended in divorce. The boy no longer sees or speaks to his mother, whom he blames for allowing Jackson to become so intimate with him. He has not seen his eight-year-old sister in two years, or his stepfather, who essentially raised him. Now 15, the boy lives with his stepmother. He is not in therapy. He continues to have a relationship with his father, who was accused by Jackson's side of extortion but whom authorities declined to prosecute, saying there was not enough evidence—another fact not mentioned by Diane Sawyer. The boy's father and stepfather, once friends, are now suing each other.


Liz Smith has reported that Jackson wanted Princess Diana to be with him on the Sawyer interview, to commiserate about the sufferings imposed by tabloid coverage, and that he queried the British Embassy in Washington about being knighted by the Queen for "his work with little children." According to an observer, he actually was working behind the scenes to see if the Queen would knight him right there on PrimeTime Live.

Who is Liz Smith and where did she get her information from?

ABC News's credibility was seriously undermined when it was revealed that the network had electronically altered a pre-taped segment of Jackson because he didn't care for the way the lighting cast lines on his face.

What some lines on a face have to do with credibility?

Executives at CBS and NBC said that Jackson's handlers had clearly been looking for a "package." (In the interest of full disclosure, my husband, Tim Russert, is Washington-bureau chief of NBC News, with no responsibility for prime-time programming.) A producer from one network told me, "It's difficult to pretend there was no quid pro quo in the ABC deal. Jackson's people approached a bunch of us. Basically they said, 'Come back to us with a proposition, and not just what you can do with your news division—that is not enough.'"

I guess I understood! This article is an impact from Maureen Orth to ABC! (Or to Diane Sawyer personally. Or both.) Journalists' undercarpet fights? Boring, sorry.

In addition, Sawyer had "get-togethers" with Jackson and Presley before the expensively produced interview, which is not her usual practice.

Here Maureen Orth tries to emphasize that Sawyer was not unbiased towards MJ.
Oh yes, this interview was a deal - so what?.. Maureen Orth was not born yesterday (I suspect), some of her readers were not born yesterday as well.

And contrary to news-show procedures, the air-conditioning remained on loud while Sawyer interviewed Jackson, causing a strange background noise. The cool air was necessary, veteran soundmen say, because the lights on Jackson were so hot that his thick pancake makeup and lipstick would have melted otherwise, and his false eyelashes would have come off.

Looool, so normally people who are interviewed have to sweat like marathon runners under heating sun?.. Great practice!

"I have no idea what the purpose of her show is," District Attorney Sneddon wondered, somewhat taken aback after having spent three hours on a Saturday afternoon helping to prime one of Sawyer's producers. "Is it the Evening News or Hard Copy?" Good question. Whatever it was, 60 million Americans and untold millions around the world got something less than the truth.

What was the purpose of the article? To butt ABC and Diane Sawyer or to throw a stone at MJ? Or both? Well, I believe honorarium was a serious factor too!

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